First race in many months. Good to get one under my belt. Hard to do workout after workout in the winter without something to show for it.
It was also my first race as a masters. It was sleeting at my house when I left but by the time I got down to Tacoma for the race, it was sunny...not warm...just sunny.
I have run this race several times and still hold the course record as far as i know. I now hold the Master's record too!
My goal going in was to run 5:25s and get a sense for what that pace felt like over 15 miles.
Fortunately, there was a pretty good crew of local guys who showed up to run. Ran the first four miles with Josh Ricardi, Spencer Walsh and Phil Olson. Spencer dropped back after four miles but the rest of us stayed together through mile 8. It was a good thing because miles 5, 6 and 7 got a bit breezy. It was nice working together.
At Mile 8, Josh dropped off the pace and it was just Phil and I. Phil is a guy I love running with but have a hard time beating. He's almost 10 years my junior and he tends to have a stronger kick than I do.
This is where I was really pleased. On three occasions he made a move to gap me. Each time my body said it couldn't go with him and just to settle for second place. But my mind said otherwise. I covered the gap each of those three times which was a huge thing for me. As I get older and it becomes harder to keep up with the younger guys, being mentally tough is an even more important component.
Mile 12 features a grueling hill that we were both dreading. We ran it in 5:43 giving back ~20 seconds from the pace we had been running. That's the one part of the race I wish I had run more agressively. My legs just felt like dead weight though. I will have to figure it out though prior to Boston.
We crested the hill with three miles to go. This is when Phil made his third attempt to gap me. After about 10 seconds trying to figure out how or if to respond, I went for it and closed the gap pretty quickly.
But with two miles to go, Phil gapped me pretty hard running a 5:07. I had no answer but I was fine with that. I had answered every other challenge and my body simply didn't have anything left to give. That happens and it is what it is. I was very comfortably in second place and still had a chance to break 1:21 which became my new goal.
As I came up on the 300m to go mark, i knew I had to be at 1:20:00 or better to have a chance of breaking 1:21. I was at 1:20:05. I crossed the finish line in 1:21:04 happier than usual at the end of a race. I missed a negative split by just four seconds. I rarely finish as strong as I start so this was another positive from the race.
I was happier at the end of this race more than others because I both ran it smarter and didn't mentally give up even when my body wanted to.
This was one of my funnest races because Phil and I really battled it out through 13 miles. We crossed the half marathon mark in 1:10:45. Most runners will kill for that time. We battled and battled and it made it really fun.
One of my favorite thing about running is how friendly the competition is. Phil and I both wanted to win but we both knew we needed each other to do our best. This is something quite unique to running. On one hand you want to beat the person you are racing, but on the other, you go out of your way to work together to help each other achieve the best.